With the power of new technology and analytics, security systems could be used in other ways as well Security and surveillance systems are valuable beyond strictly providing compliance in the casino market. Even beyond ensuring physical security on premises outside the casino floor, systems are providing additional benefits including customer service, marketing and profitability, says Maureen Bruen, vertical market specialist – gaming, Honeywell Security Products Americas. Traditionally, access control, employee badging and visitor management have been a lower priority in casinos; however, they are essential to providing a total security solution, she adds. Combining departments for better business outcomes While surveillance of the casino floor is generally a separate department from physical security, with appropriate equipment selection and software partitioning, requirements of both departments can be met without compromise, says Bruen. Beyond simple loss prevention, combining people counting and point-of-sale provides invaluable information to marketing and finance, adds Bruen. By understanding the number of customers within any specific area of a casino combined with slot and point-of-sale data, these departments can better understand customer-to-cash conversion ratios. The level of success of any promotional activity can be easily measured. "While surveillance of the casino floor is generally a separate department from physical security, with appropriate equipment selection and software partitioning, requirements of both departments can be met without compromise" Bruen says point-of-sale (POS) is often overlooked in casino surveillance. Statistics show that internal theft is on the rise. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 75 percent of employees have stolen from their employers. Of those, nearly half will steal again from the same employer. An estimated 50 billion dollars is lost annually from U.S. businesses due to employee theft. Honeywell’s IDM (integrated data manager) for loss prevention Honeywell’s IDM (integrated data manager) can cut losses with the help of surveillance, loss prevention and food and beverage departments. IDM is a cost-effective solution that increases bottom-line profits through proactive loss prevention. IDM mines large amounts of data quickly and provides powerful customised reports with graphical results and instant video. Integrating video surveillance with data from point-of-sale, slot machines, cash counters, and ATM machines protects the casino’s bars, restaurants and retail interests against employee misconduct and internal loss. Physical security systems are often used to thwart the “bad guy” in the form of a breach, theft, or unwanted act. But with the power of new technology and analytics, these systems could be used in other ways as well, agrees Larry Wanvig, senior national account manager – gaming, Tyco Security Products. "Integrating video surveillance with data from point-of-sale, slot machines, cash counters, and ATM machines protects the casino’s bars, restaurants and retail interests against employee misconduct and internal loss" An example might be a system’s ability to notify management and hospitality teams when a VIP arrives so that they can ensure the VIP is taken care of appropriately. The notification could be based on an analytic rule or might also be accomplished by the unification of multiple systems, such as the surveillance and the loyalty/rewards program systems together, or the integration of surveillance and license plate recognition to notify staff as the guest arrives in the parking garage. Video and access control merger carries outstanding benefits The technology choices made by casino surveillance and security departments are typically made with compatibility in mind, as each department needs the capacity to share video and other information when needed, says Laurie Smock, vice president of sales, North American Video. For example, business operations often benefit from integrating a property’s point of sale system with the surveillance system to assist with reducing shrinkage. Access control is another vital security system element that is often integrated with surveillance, Smock says. When done properly, it provides a wealth of data that can be shared among multiple departments within the casino. NAV works with clients’ surveillance management to identify the video security technologies that will provide them with the functionality, scalability, and sustainability they meet. Once the technology has been identified, NAV’s design services configure the system layout for each individual property to ensure proper implementation and coverage. “We bring the same level of focus and individualisation to each casino we work with,” says Smock. “When the system design is complete, the NAV operations team installs and commissions the system. Once the system is up and running, NAV provides the customer with regular maintenance visits as well as any emergency on-site technical support that is needed.” "One consideration that is often overlooked is how the system performs and behaves, and how user-friendly it is on a day-to-day basis. It’s important that a solution can be flexibly and freely used for both monitoring and investigations, with easy-to-use playback operations, rewind, pause and so on of 24/7 recordings" Struggling with separation Based on DVTEL’s experience, the separation between the casino surveillance and security departments leads to separate decision-making, driven by different budgets and requirements. As a result, these can be seen as two separate sites/projects, says Ron Grinfeld, director, global vertical marketing, DVTEL. One consideration that is often overlooked is how the system performs and behaves, and how user-friendly it is on a day-to-day basis, says Grinfeld. It’s important that a solution can be flexibly and freely used for both monitoring and investigations, with easy-to-use playback operations, rewind, pause and so on of 24/7 recordings. For visibility into the entire casino, it’s also important that the system can easily display multiple tiles simultaneously. Furthermore, a customer should consider whether the solution has a single point of failure, how fast it recovers from breakdown and what would be the damage or loss of recorded video. DVTEL’s Latitude NVMS DVTEL’s enterprise-grade Latitude NVMS is a common choice for casino customers as it allows them to manage and monitor hundreds of cameras across the casino floor. Features such as failover and redundancy enable optimised viewing and help casinos avoid system downtime under any circumstances. Advanced add-on tools for the DVTEL system, such as camera stitching technology, maps, and POS, access control and other third-party integrations, are a common choice for the daily operations of casino customers.
Large busy casinos must maintain continuous surveillance of multiple tables and machines High-definition (HD) cameras are a perfect fit for the casino market. HD security cameras provide six times the resolution of analogue cameras, supplying images with sharper edges that easily identify faces, cards, dice, chips, currency, and fill slips. In addition, high-definition IP cameras can reduce camera count. A single, 1080p camera can effectively cover poker, roulette or craps tables where traditionally two to three analogue cameras were required, says Maureen Bruen, vertical market specialist – gaming, Honeywell Security Products Americas. Evolution of video surveillance technology Combining high-definition cameras at choke points with 360-degree cameras to provide extreme overviews of the entire casino floor is also a powerful combination, says Bruen. When an incident occurs, a person can be tracked to a choke point where they can be positively identified. Video surveillance technology evolves rapidly, and HD is just one of the factors in play. Honeywell works with its largest gaming customers to ensure future products are designed in accordance with their requirements. Honeywell’s security product portfolio Honeywell Security Products Americas has provided surveillance and security solutions for the gaming market for over 20 years. Honeywell’s product portfolio consists of video management systems, hybrid and network video recorders, IP and analogue cameras, access control, point of sale, video analytics, visitor management, intrusion and building management systems, all of which can be integrated. Honeywell’s surveillance products are designed in consultation with customers to ensure requirements are accurately met. Honeywell trains, certifies and supports casino customers directly. A casino surveillance customer can take advantage of Honeywell’s variety of solutions and product offerings. Enterprise digital video recorders can be expanded, refreshed and sustained over an extended life cycle. Migration to IP can be achieved economically by upgrading work stations and software. Honeywell’s MAXPRO VMS video management system and Ultrakey keyboards fully control all digital and analogue monitors. Combining the MAXPRO VMS and Pro-Watch access control systems, any alarm or access event can automatically call up any number of video selections. Doors can be controlled directly from Pro-Watch or the Ultrakey CCTV keyboard. Honeywell’s integrated data manager (IDM) point-of-sale solution provides data mining with customised reports that can be scheduled and emailed including graphical results with instant video. Wide area people counting solutions are suitable for marketing departments and can determine the effectiveness of promotional campaigns or merchandising, reduce costs and increase customer service. The major factors affecting the conversion to IP casino surveillance video systems are money and infrastructure High-definition IP camera benefits North American Video (NAV), a leading systems integrator serving the gaming market, also points out that IP video security has ushered in dramatic improvements in image quality and resolution, which allows surveillance operators to extract more visual information from each camera shot. Additionally, with the improved image quality and resolution, a single HD camera can cover an area that previously required multiple analogue cameras to cover effectively. As an optimal result, the increased visual information and lower camera counts lead to dramatically improved operator and surveillance room efficiency, says Laurie Smock, NAV vice president of sales. Analogue-to-IP conversion challenges While analogue-to-IP conversion is mostly impacted by budgetary considerations, regulatory restrictions are a limiting factor when IP-based systems are incapable of meeting certain requirements, says Ron Grinfeld, director, global vertical marketing, DVTEL. When regulations are met, budget is the only shared impacting factor in the decision to remain analogue, adopt hybrid or transition to all-IP, especially considering the huge installed base of legacy analogue equipment, specifically surveillance cameras. Grinfeld says the situation helps to differentiate a company such as DVTEL, which is capable of providing an all-IP system while meeting the above restrictions, and at the same time offers video encoders (also called video server appliances) that allow the development of a hybrid system. In addition, each component of the DVTEL solution is open to third-party integration through ONVIF and open API. Having a wide range of certified integrations with most of the major players in the market allows DVTEL’s casino customers to enjoy the benefit of all worlds, whether they want to transform their systems to all-IP, move to hybrid or even maintain legacy third-party equipment while advancing their core management servers to DVTEL’s enterprise systems. "Regulatory restrictions are a limiting factor when IP-based systems are incapable of meeting certain requirements", says Ron Grinfeld, Director, Global Vertical Marketing, DVTEL The major factors affecting the conversion to IP casino surveillance video systems are money and infrastructure, according to Oncam, which designs, delivers and deploys IP video solutions that leverage 360-degree fisheye cameras and other technologies. So many resorts and casino operations have anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 cameras on property, and the investment to replace these may not provide the return on investment (ROI) for the capital expense. When the service costs from system failures or end-of-life product support exceed ROI, then making the conversion to a hybrid IP system becomes more viable, according to Oncam Gaming industry regulations The gaming industry is heavily regulated, including strict data protection controls. These regulations help maintain the integrity of gaming operations, which is why large, busy casinos must maintain continuous surveillance of multiple tables, machines, sports pools, cages, vaults, count rooms, records and the security room itself. A thorough understanding of these laws is necessary when selecting a security solution for a casino setting. The two mandatory regulatory requirements shared across all jurisdictions are full frame rate and complete failover, says Grinfeld of DVTEL. Other requirements apply to specific regions and involve various aspects around time synchronisation of video playback, fast rewind, and so on.
Video surveillance systems are extensively used in the casino market, but ironically casinos are more often than not behind the curve when it comes to installing newer security systems. Video technology adoption in the casino market has recently slowed down because of the economy. Analogue to IP migration The economic downturn slowed the analogue-to-IP transition process of video surveillance technology used in the gaming market, says Laurie Smock, vice president of sales, North American Video (NAV). As a result, casinos across all North American gaming jurisdictions, for example, have elected to transition slowly from analogue to IP – using IP video management systems (VMS) that enable them to leverage existing analogue cameras. This hybrid approach has become a common solution for existing properties. Conversely, newly constructed properties almost always choose to install all-IP systems. Smock says the migration to IP has accelerated recently as economic conditions have improved and the U.S. gaming market has seen business levels increase. New construction and technology-refresh activity have continued to accelerate in 2015. “When migrating from an older analogue system to a new IP platform, it’s important to plan a strategy that incorporates cost-effective updates when the budget allows,” says Smock of NAV. Here is a hybrid example: “For companies that are replacing their VMS and storage, but continuing to utilise their existing analogue cameras via encoders, we often recommend additional storage and a larger network that will accommodate HD IP cameras in the future,” Smock says. “This simplifies the transition from analogue to HD IP cameras; when an older analogue camera fails, it is simply replaced with an IP HD camera with no additional storage and minimal infrastructure changes needed.” Security systems integration "When migrating from an older analogue system to a new IP platform, it’s important to plan a strategy that incorporates cost-effective updates when the budget allows ", says Laurie Smock, VP of Sales, NAV North American Video is a leading systems integrator serving the gaming market. Its primary focus is on designing, selling, installing and servicing enterprise-class video surveillance and management systems that are tailored for casino applications. System designs include the integration and installation of access control, point-of-sale (POS), building control and alarm systems in order to provide a complete security and surveillance solution for NAV customers. North American Video works with many of the leading corporate and tribal gaming entities that operate multiple casinos across the United States. Clients take advantage of NAV’s full range of integration services, from delivery of a single camera all the way up to the design, build, service and installation of systems with thousands of cameras, integrated access control and other technologies. Impact of budget Other companies active in the casino surveillance market also point to the economy as a factor in slower technology adoption. Lack of budget still seems to be one of the biggest factors impeding more rapid adoption of new technologies, says Larry Wanvig, senior national account manager – gaming, Tyco Security Products. Generally, IP technology is more expensive than its analogue counterparts, although the technology often pays for itself with the efficiency offered by IP, Wanvig notes. Another security solutions manufacturer, Honeywell, sees an impact of budget on determining the speed of migration to HD IP video. “Most of our customers migrate to HD IP video in a phased approach, starting with high-priority shots such as table games, cage and cash, and choke points,” says Maureen Bruen, vertical market specialist – gaming, Honeywell Security Products Americas. Budget is the single greatest barrier, she adds, and leasing is one option to overcome it. Technology decisions are usually ROI-driven, adds Ron Grinfeld, director, global vertical marketing, DVTEL. Casino customers must see that an investment can provide return on investment (ROI) and add value, such as improved quality of service, greater business intelligence, global awareness applications, more efficient and secure transactions (through analytics and POS integrations), people counting, crowd management and so on, he says.